Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Here they go again

Sam Adams is just back from DC where he was trying to get $20 million out of the feds to help pay for the latest "linchpin" project that they are just CERTAIN will pay for itself many times over by attracting untold levels of economic activity.

Untold, of course, because nobody can actually explain in concrete terms exactly how the thing will create any jobs or value.

The story is in Willamette Week. The want to build a monument to "sustainability" - an office building that produces all its own electricity. Of course that requires the thing to be hotter in summer and cooler in winter than most of us would want in a building for $31 per square foot. (Which puts it a level above class A office space.)

Heck all sorts of people will line up to have their office in a place where they sweat all summer and freeze all winter, especially if it costs more. Guess who will occupy the space? Sustainability-trough-feeding non-profits and government agencies.

But I mostly LOVE the serious economic analysis they did to show how if we build this outrageously expensive building with taxpayer funds, that it will spur all sorts of economic benefits. Here is what the Chancellor of the Oregon University System, a financial partner in the deal to the tune of $80 million in bonds, says:

"This is going to brand Oregon as a leader in the sustainability movement,” Kenton says. “We think of this building as a portal. People are going to want to come here and connect with it, and it will drive a whole bunch of economic value to the state.”

So there we have it. A "portal" that will "drive a whole bunch of economic value" to Oregon.

And on the strength of that extensive econometric analysis, we commit tens of millions of taxpayer funds.

OK then.


Anonymous said...

$31 a foot?! That's ridiculous. My office would cost me 125% of my middle class income.

Had my first Sammy-Sighting last night. Not sure what he was up to but the sky blue angora was a perfect 10.

MAX Redline said...

Of course that requires the thing to be hotter in summer

The windows will be openable, of course, which is one of the new "green" standards. Naturally, windows that open will cost more than those that don't, which is why the current estimate comes in at $31/sq. ft.

Moreover, it'll occupy prime real estate, with direct connections to both light rail and streetcars! This thing'll pack the crowds in, just like the aerial tram brought us 10,000 biotech jobs. It's a no-brainer!

Ex-European said...

It would be foolish to not accept something, no matter how low its usefulness to expense ratio, if you only have to pay 2% of its cost (Oregon’s contribution to the federal budget), even if you have to spend an additional 2% in lobbying fees.

Unless, of course, other states do the same…